are a beautiful aspect of the face: vibrant, full, expressive. Whatever your lip style is, whether you love a nude, glossy lip, or prefer a dramatic red lip femme fatale look, knowing how to apply lipstick is an art worth mastering. The alternative—smudges, smears and bleeding lip lines—is a valid concern. However, lipstick can be your friend, giving your face a polished, attractive look. Try these tips for putting your best lips forward.
How to Apply Lipstick
Prep your lips
To get your lips closeup ready, prep them. The night before, you can use a leave-on lip mask, or the day of begin with exfoliating any dead flaking skin. You can try rubbing an extra hot washcloth over your lips. Before applying lipstick, you will want to have removed any excess oils before applying color. You can wipe away any oil with a tissue. If you leave emollient on your lips, the wax of a pencil or lipstick won’t be able to grip your lips. Instead, the color will just float, hydroplaning above your lips.
A little bit of concealer around the lips — or two layers of lip liner — keeps your lipstick from migrating or bleeding into fine lines.
Try: NENA Skincare Overnight Lip Mask
, $16 and Eco Lips Lipscrub Vanilla Bean
, $7, vitacost.com
To line or not to line
Although liner can seem a little old -fashioned, it’s actually a tactical way to help prevent color from fading or feathering outside of the natural border of the lips. It can often be applied the wrong way. There are many techniques for a subtle lip liner look. One reliable way of applying liner is to fill in the entire mouth, rather than just outlining the lips. Adding a liner layer is a great lipstick hack, turning virtually any lipstick into a "longwear" formula.
Bonus tip: You can also finish with lip liner after lipstick to touch up the edges at the end and make the finish even more precise.
Try: Honeybee Gardens Lip Liner Island Spice
, $10, vitacost.com
Choose your color
It’s important to choose a color that works well with your skin tone. Note that your lips are not the same color as your skin, so try lipstick on your lips, not on the back of your hand. Decide where you want the drama to be on your face, whether your eyes, your cheeks, or your lips. If the drama is elsewhere, tone down your lips to something neutral. If you want eye-catching lips, use a light hand on the rest of your face.
Experiment with layering on color. Put on a matte liquid lipstick, then apply a regular lipstick over it. Blending similar shades of different ones can create a beautiful custom color and texture.
Try: Ecco Bella Flower Color Lipstick Rosewood
, $20, vitacost.com
Choose colors that will stain, as in a super pigmented hue with a matte texture. Matte colors have fewer oils, which translates into less smudges. On the flip side, they can also feel heavy, which is why layering textures is ideal. Start from the center of your lips and then feather out, which gives you more control during the application process and can mitigate mess-ups. For a more even application, you can experiment with a lip brush.
If you don’t want to go full bore, tap the shade on with your finger. You get a pretty stain effect as opposed to full-on saturated color.
These days, multifunctional lip and cheek color are on pointe. Mineral Fusion 2-in-1 Lip & Cheek Stain
, $20, vitacost.com
Once your lips are perfectly coated and the formula is set, blot your lips at the end. Do this by gently squeezing lips together and kissing a tissue or napkin to remove excess product and prevent slippage.
For an even better blot, take the soft face tissue and separate the layers to make it a thin, single ply tissue. Fold this tissue in half and hold it in between your lips and press down.
Apply lipstick again, repeating the process of blotting and applying until you’ve achieved an opaque color that has melded into the lips. This process helps to create a powerful stain and imparts a more lived-in effect, more natural look.
Make sure you don’t rub any excess lipstick on your teeth.
Add a coup de gloss
Lip gloss is fluid—it’s not designed to wear all day. Add a layer of gloss over a coordinating long-wearing lipstick for a glossy lip that actually lasts.
Applying a pop of clear gloss, dabbed just in the center of the lips, instantly makes them look plumper and juicier.
Try: Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Gloss Ocean Sunrise
, $7, vitacost.com